Those words from Isaiah haunt me till this very day.  I remember when I first felt the call to the priesthood.  I could not get the words of the hymn, “Here I am, Lord” out of my mind.  What I remember so clearly during that time was the sobering realization that I/we only have one shot at life.  We only get one life.  We need to make the very best of it– we need to get our vocation right.  We need to serve God in every aspect of our lives.  Some of you might be asking yourselves, as I often ask myself, “Am I good enough to serve God in the way that He wants me to serve Him?”  All three readings this week answer that question.  Isaiah was not good enough at first.  Then an angel touched Isaiah’s mouth with the ember from the fire.  He was made clean.  In the second reading, Paul reminds us that he started off by persecuting Christians.  He would round up men, women and children and bring them to the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem.  He watched and approved as an innocent and meek Stephen was stoned to death by a mob.  Paul was a spectator at the lynching, but he cheered on the mob and left excited to find the mob’s next victims.  But despite all this Jesus transformed Paul into an apostle.  “I am who I am,” St. Paul says, “through the Grace of God.”  In the Gospel, Peter wants Jesus to leave him because he is so aware of his own sin.  Jesus basically says, “No way.  I have work for you.  You will be catching men.”  And Jesus says to you and to me, “Stop hiding behind your human failures.  How dare you say that I cannot send you?  I am God. I have work for you to do.  I will cleanse you.  I will send you.”  I remember when I left home to go to the seminary, my pastor; the priest who inspired me said to me that the priesthood is the life.  I do believe that over the years I have come to a deeper understanding of what he meant when he spoke those words but I have also learned something else: when it comes right down to it the only life worth living is the life into which the Lord sends us.  Therefore, our response to Him should always be, “Here I am Lord, send me.”


AuthorCathy Remick